The Bloody Battle of Tarawa, 1943. Marines hunker down at seawall.

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The Bloody Battle of Tarawa, 1943. Marines hunker down at seawall.

Empty helmets and spent artillery shells mark the graves of Marines who fell at Tarawa, March 1944

Empty helmets and spent artillery shells mark the graves of Marines who fell at Tarawa, March 1944

The original caption is short and to the point: "Dead Jap sniper on Tarawa." The Battle of Tarawa (US code name Operation Galvanic) was a battle in the Gilbert Islands, in the Pacific Theater. Largely fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943, it was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region.

The original caption is short and to the point: "Dead Jap sniper on Tarawa." The Battle of Tarawa (US code name Operation Galvanic) was a battle in the Gilbert Islands, in the Pacific Theater. Largely fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943, it was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region.

Sprawled bodies of American soldiers on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. During the 3-day Battle of Tarawa, some 1,000 U.S. Marines died, and another 687 U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives when the USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese torpedo. (AP Photo).

Sprawled bodies of American soldiers on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. During the 3-day Battle of Tarawa, some 1,000 U.S. Marines died, and another 687 U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives when the USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese torpedo. (AP Photo).

The bodies of 36 US Marines have been found on a remote Pacific island more than 70 years after they died in a bloody World War II battle.  A member of the recovery team said the remains were discovered after a four-month excavation on Betio Island in Kiribati.  Director of US charity History Flight, Mark Noah, told Radio New Zealand that the men were killed during the Battle of Tarawa in 1943.

The bodies of 36 US Marines have been found on a remote Pacific island more than 70 years after they died in a bloody World War II battle. A member of the recovery team said the remains were discovered after a four-month excavation on Betio Island in Kiribati. Director of US charity History Flight, Mark Noah, told Radio New Zealand that the men were killed during the Battle of Tarawa in 1943.

Sprawled bodies of American soldiers on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. During the 3-day Battle of Tarawa, some 1,000 U.S. Marines died, and another 687 U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives when the USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese torpedo.

Sprawled bodies of American soldiers on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. During the 3-day Battle of Tarawa, some 1,000 U.S. Marines died, and another 687 U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives when the USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese torpedo.

Inflatable Rescue Boat at the Battle of Tarawa

Inflatable Rescue Boat at the Battle of Tarawa

US Marines take cover behind a sand dune Red Beach 3 (Red Beach 3) after landing on Tarawa Atoll. Battle of Tarawa was the second in a row the US offensive operations in the Pacific. Japanese garrison was unexpected, fierce resistance, leading to heavy losses in the ranks of the US Marines. US losses were so great that a large number of corpses was not returned to their homeland.

US Marines take cover behind a sand dune Red Beach 3 (Red Beach 3) after landing on Tarawa Atoll. Battle of Tarawa was the second in a row the US offensive operations in the Pacific. Japanese garrison was unexpected, fierce resistance, leading to heavy losses in the ranks of the US Marines. US losses were so great that a large number of corpses was not returned to their homeland.

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